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P-Vock's Music Box: Message in the Stars

Hello and welcome to P-Vock's Music Box. I've mentioned a great many video games that have released this year that I was noticeably excited for. Whether they were DLCs that continued a story that means more to me than anyone will ever know, or a bold new direction for one of my favourite series, a familiar series that reminded me why I love a series, or even just a solid continuation of something I adore, I have had a lot to enjoy.


No full game releasing this year has me more excited than what releases early next week when Sea of Stars releases. It's not some big franchise continuation, it's not a big-budget Triple-A game, it's not the new landmark title from some beloved developer.

It's a simple indie RPG acting as a spiritual prequel to beloved indie darling The Messenger, and I love everything I've seen of it.

But we're not here for that (I'm sure I'll share its music since one of the composers is the legendary Yasunori Mitsuda). Instead, let's go on an awesome ninja adventure!

I loved everything about The Messenger, from its fast-paced and rewarding gameplay, to its hilarious writing, to its top-tier chiptune music from artist RainbowDragonEyes.

With the synthesized instruments, Forgotten begins as what seems like a simple piece of music, just like the game as a whole. Nothing bad, but nothing stand out.

But, just like the game as a whole, it quickly flips the script with amazing shifts in the music that allows the track to feel as though it's like four in one, while never dropping the mood or sounding jarring.

Just like Ninja Gaiden and so many of the platformers this game takes inspiration from, The Messenger is a fast-paced game that rewards you for being fast and reactionary but also encourages you to be cognisant and preemptive. I think the wonderful juxtaposition of lightning-fast strings of notes, dramatic melodies, and hanging bassline really carry this area and act as an amazing piece of auditory storytelling that hits you relatively early in the game.

And it only gets better from here.

You've gotten a feel for the game by the time you hear Bamboo Boogaloo (amazing track title), so now it's time to go. The tempo doesn't drop, because the game knows the player is more familiar with and confident in their abilities by now, and it's not as much about stalking about cautiously as it is keeping up the momentum and blasting through every enemy on screen in glorious fashion!

I think a lot of chiptune music can sound relatively samey to people who aren't used to hearing it as much as someone like me, but I would argue that the juxtaposition of standard chiptune beats that sound right out of an NES and the unique synth instruments doing a phenomenal job of replicating traditional Japanese sounds (go figure for the bamboo level) combine to create in infectiously catchy and truly unforgettable sound for the player as they run through the grass toward their next objective.

But now, humour me as we chill out a bit . . .

Winter is slowly coming, and in case you didn't know, I LOVE WINTER. So, of course I want to rock out to the snowy beats.

The Frozen Light does a phenomenal job of instilling those chilly vibes without relying on generic chimes and a mellow atmosphere because every snow track has to be slow and melancholic. Instead, we have a snow theme with an insane sense of drive and purpose that delivers the intensity of an approaching pivotal moment (and genuinely incredible moment that flips the game on its head) while having those ice-cold notes that send chills down your spine. I just can't get enough of this kind of jam.

Despite what most people seem to think, winter can be hype, too!

Despite being a beloved indie game, I don't think The Messenger will ever get the respect and love it truly deserves. This is a damn shame because it stands as an excellent time with incredible level design, god-tier writing, amazing music, and some downright incredible moments. While it may never achieve the status it truly deserves, I hope getting a taste of its incredible music gave you something to bob your head along to and really enjoy.

Thank you so much, as always, for checking out my content, and I hope to catch you next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.

Stay Brutal.

PS. If you're interested, a new trailer for its prequel Sea of Stars released recently, and JUST LISTEN TO THAT MUSIC. This is going to be a VERY different game that will stand out just as much as The Messenger.

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